Saturday, December 07, 2013

Delbert Newhouse and the Utah Movie

There are two things that have happened recently that impact this blog. First is a statement, again, by someone who should actually know better, that there is no evidence that UFOs are alien craft. He asks, demands really, just one example of a solid case for the UFO. Ignoring the fact that the debunkers have worked wonders in marginalizing UFO reports by throwing all sorts of ridiculous explanations for the sightings out there, some of which are contradictory, there are some very good cases that have multiple chains of evidence and some very good research attached to them. Any explanation, even if it doesn’t fit the facts will do, just so long as they can claim the sighting is explained in the mundane.

The second point is that, for some reason, there has been an on-going dialogue into the July 1952 UFO sighing near Tremonton, Utah. This is the tale of a Navy warrant officer who filmed a formation of bright objects over the tiny Utah town. The film was studied for months by a number of different organizations but in January 1953, the objects were identified as birds by the CIA sponsored Robertson Panel. (For a lengthy analysis of the motivations of the Robertson Panel see Alien Mysteries, Conspiracies and Cover-Ups, 155 - 174)

Here’s the thing about this movie. Almost everyone talks about what is shown on the film but few mention what the witnesses observed. In 1976, when I interviewed Delbert Newhouse, the Navy photographer, he told me that he and his wife, Norma, saw the objects at close range. He said they were large, disc-shaped things that were brightly lighted. By the time he got the car stopped, dug his camera out of the trunk and put film into it, the objects had moved off so that they looked like bright blobs of white on a bright blue background. It was then that he began filming the formation or cluster or mass, which was now much farther away.

Sure, you could say that in 1976 he had heard more than twenty years of comments about the film, had been interviewed repeatedly and his story certainly could have changed. Ed Ruppelt, the chief of Project Blue Book when the film was shot in his Report on Unidentified Flying Objects wrote:

After I got out of the Air Force I met Newhouse and talked to him for two hours [in 1954, I believe]. I’ve talked to many people who have reported UFOs, but few impressed me as much as Newhouse. I learned that when he and his family first saw the UFOs they were close to the car, much closer than when he took the movie. To use Newhouse’s own words, “If they had been the size of a B-29 they would have been at 10,000 feet altitude.” And the Navy man and his family had taken a good look at the objects – they looked like “two pie pans, one inverted on the top of the other!” He didn’t just think the UFO’s were disk-shaped; he knew that they were; he had plainly seen them. I asked him why he hadn’t told this to the intelligence officer who interrogated him. He said that he had. Then I remember that I’d sent the intelligence officer a list of questions I wanted Newhouse to answer. The question “What did the UFO’s look like?” wasn’t one of them because when you have a picture of something you don’t normally ask what it looks like. Why the intelligence officer didn’t pass this information along to us I’ll never know.

So, it’s clear from the beginning that Newhouse was telling those interested that he had seen the objects up close. He said, from the beginning, that the objects were disc shaped. I don’t think anyone, in those early days, thought to get statements from the wife and the kids. They had the “important” information from a naval officer and were satisfied with that. And even with that, the Air Force didn’t bother to complete the investigation, failing to ask basic questions or seemingly failed to ask them, and according to Ruppelt, didn’t bother to pass along some of the answers.

In the months that followed, the Air Force analyzed the film and when they finished, they had no solution. Ruppelt wrote about that, saying, “All they had to say was ‘We don’t know what they are but they aren’t airplanes or balloons, and we don’t think they are birds.’”

When the Air Force finished, the Navy took over, and they weren’t as restricted in their praise as the Air Force. The Navy experts made a frame by frame examination that took over a thousand man hours. The Navy concluded that the objects were internally lights spheres that were not reflecting sunlight. They also estimated the speed of the objects at 3,780 miles an hour which ruled out aircraft of the time and birds of any time. They had no explanation for what was seen on the film.

But, as I say, never let an independent analysis stand when you can throw cold water on it. Donald Menzel, the Harvard astronomer who never met a UFO sighting he liked and who wasn’t above providing explanations as quickly as he could regardless of the facts, claimed that it had been proven the film showed birds. Such was not the case, except to those with closed minds but Menzel made the claim anyway.

Dr. R. M. L. Baker made an independent study of the film in 1955. He agreed with the Air Force that the film didn’t show aircraft or balloons, and he didn’t think it was some sort of airborne debris or radar chaff either. In disagreement with Menzel, he found the bird explanation “unsatisfactory.”

Given what we know about the University of Colorado UFO study led by Edward U. Condon we could guess what they would conclude about this film. I won’t mention what we now know about the reasons for the study or the directions Condon and his team had been given by the Air Force (see the Hippler Letter March 21, 2007; June 5, 2013) but that certainly influenced their conclusions.

William Hartmann conducted the analysis for the Condon committee. He provided a quick history of the investigations and did mention that during Baker’s investigation Newhouse provided “…substantially the same account, with the additional information: ‘When he got out [of the car], he observed the objects (twelve to fourteen of them) to be directly overhead and milling about. He described them as ‘gun metal colored objects, shaped like two saucers, one inverted of top of the other.’…” (Which sort of reinforces the idea that Newhouse had not radically altered his tale over time.)

Hartmann then made his own analysis, finally concluding, “These observations give strong evidence that the Tremonton films do show birds… and I now regard the objects as so identified.”

But this comes only after Hartmann rejected the statements by Newhouse seeing the objects at close range. He wrote, “The strongest negative argument was stated later by the witness that the objects were seen to subtend an angle of about 0.5 degrees and were then seen as gun metal colored and shaped like two saucers held together rim to rim, but the photographs and circumstances indicate that this observation could not have been meaningful.”

Or, in other words, the statements of Newhouse were unimportant and I suspect the reason being that if they were accepted, then the bird explanation was eliminated. Birds are not shaped like two saucers held together rim to rim.

To add to all this, Baker, in 1969, at a symposium sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science said that while Hartmann’s analysis might be appealing “[The] motion [of the objects] is not what one would expect from a flock of soaring birds; there are erratic brightness fluctuations, but there is no indication of periodic decreases in brightness due to turning with the wind or flapping. No cumulus clouds are shown on the film that might betray the presence of thermal updraft… The motion pictures I have taken of birds at various distances have no similarity to the Utah film.”

Here’s where we are. This is a case of multiple chains of evidence. First is the eyewitness testimony that has been virtually ignored. It is clear from what Ruppelt and others say that some parts of the Project Blue Book file on the case have disappeared. But that doesn’t change the fact that Newhouse and his wife saw the UFOs and what they had to say about it is an important part of the report. Hartmann rejected it almost out of hand.

The second chain of evidence, which is independent of the first, is the film. It provides something that can be taken into the lab and analyzed in various ways. It seems to me that those without a bias (or in the case of the Air Force who leaned toward finding any explanation which now suggests they were arguing against their own interest) couldn’t positively identify the objects. Those who know that there is no alien visitation however, found what they believed to be the solution. The film showed birds.

Here’s the point, finally. Those who know that there is no alien visitation claim that there is no evidence to the contrary. I say the Tremonton, Utah film is evidence of something unusual flying through the atmosphere and if evaluated from a neutral position is not explained by birds. I will freely concede that eliminating the accepted explanation does not lead directly to the extraterrestrial; I will also note that we do have some evidence of an unusual event. I will further note that if Newhouse’s description is accurate then there is no terrestrial explanation for the sighting. Give it an unbiased reading, look at everything through a neutral prism, and you have something that suggests there could be alien visitation. It is, therefore, some of the evidence that many claim does not exist


Anonymous said...

"I will freely concede that eliminating the accepted explanation does not lead directly to the extraterrestrial; I will also note that we do have some evidence of an unusual event. I will further note that if Newhouse’s description is accurate then there is no terrestrial explanation for the sighting. Give it an unbiased reading, look at everything through a neutral prism, and you have something that suggests there could be alien visitation."

This seems completely contradictory to me. How can you jump from "no explanation" to "no terrestrial explanation." There's your biased prism and lack of neutrality right there. Just because no one can figure out what they were does not mean "they came from outer space.'

Anthony Mugan said...

I tend to agree with the sentiments Kevin sets out in the main article. In particular this case is one of a number that might be useful for an analysis of the motion of the objects in the light of developments since the 1950's.

It's a shame that, as far as I'm aware we don't have the full Navy analysis which ruled out birds, although the main points have be given ( for example in the Condon Report). I would be interested to know if this pattern f movement could be attributable to electromagnetic influences on atmospheric plasma, for example. I suspect not but fully acknowledge my lack of sufficient expertise to perform the analysis. Comparison with predictions arising from various propulsion possibilities such as metric engineering or quantum thrusters (or more conventional MHD) etc. would a also be interesting.

Analysis of motion is something I am beginning to think seriously about in terms both evidence of acceleration and conceivably information content and this case provides potentially suitable data...

KRandle said...

Anonymous -

Afraid to participate with your real name know?

If you read the statement carefully, I said that if Newhouse's description is accurate, meaning that we have disc-shaped objects maneuvering through the atmosphere, then we have no terrestrial explanation. If you have one that fits the facts, please supply it... the shape of the objects seems to rule out any sort of known terrestrial explanation.

If good evidence is offered, then we can revisit the statement. For many years the Chiles Whitted case was unsolved but new evidence, or rather a better understanding of a natural phenomenon, has lead to an explanation... which, ironically is not terrestrially based. In other words, I believe that Chiles Whitted saw a bolide at a strange angle.

So, unless you have an idea that solves the case that is terrestrially based and that fits all the facts, the statement stands. But, it does not mean what Newhouse saw was an alien craft, it just opens the door.

Lance said...

Hi Kevin,

In Chiles-Whitted, you may remember that the pilots ALSO thought that they were close to the object (seeing the windows, etc.).

Their description was the best they could make.

But it was also wildly wrong.

It seems telling that you cannot imagine a similar circumstance in this case as being MORE LIKELY than the flying saucers from space mythology.

Witnesses get this stuff wrong ALL THE TIME . It seems particularly unwise to bet the house on UFO stories. And in this case (testimony well after the event) that surely is exponentionally more of a folly to do so.

Anonymous is dead on correct in his points above.


KRandle said...

Lance -

The difference is that Chiles Whitted saw the object for a few seconds and at long range. They believed it to be closer and believed there were square windows. Subsequent research demonstrated that was in error... okay, the Zond IV reentry did, but you see the point.

Newhouse saw the objects at close range as they passed over the car. They had moved off into the distance by the time he got his camera into operation.

But I did not say that the explanation here was flying saucers but that currently there is no viable terrestrial explanation... If you have one, please present it. If you do not, then alien craft is a possibility, given the descriptions and the motion picture footage to include the Navy examination of it.

And finally, the testimony wasn't well after the event but within days of it according to the documentation... it wasn't until well after it that Ruppelt talked to Newhouse, but it is clear that Newhouse was saying the same thing to the Air Force after he submitted the footage to them.

I did not say I couldn't imagine other explanations, I said that there is no viable terrestrial explanation at this time, which is not the same thing.

But one of my points in the post was that debunkers, happy with the birds explanation reject the film as birds... but the history of that explanation (not to mention the obvious duplicity of the Robertson Panel) suggests that the birds explanation is in error and therefore there currently is no terrestrial explanation. That doesn't mean that something won't be discovered tomorrow, only that it has not been offered today.

Lance said...

Hi Kevin,

I have some agreement with the above but can't understand how you don't seem to realize that being TOLD by a witness that the objects were close up and them actually being close up are two distinctly different things.

Chiles-Whitted should be a good eye-opener in this respect--they reported the object as close with a form that it did not actually have. That this could have happened in the Newhouse case seems to be a parsimonious idea.

AND ignoring the fact that this testimony comes years later strikes me as particularly foolhardy. Having seen OVER AND OVER that witnesses, sometime stung by the unfair response their stories received, often make the story bigger and more impressive, I can't imagine how you might think it is unreasonable to allow that this may be the case here.


Lyall M said...

Delbert Newhouse had always reported that they first saw the objects heading towards them while driving. Then saw them at close range as flew directly over head while parked and pulling the camera out of the trunk. He described them as flying saucers. Filming them as they headed away from his location. He did a filmed interview at the time and also was in a mid 1950's UFO documentary explaining the whole sequence of events - I think it is one that featured an "AL CHOP" (?). I don't remember the name of the movie but Washington D.C. events and Newhouse's film were the big events in it - maybe 1957 at the latest.

So Delbert Newhouse never wavered in what he said he saw that day.

Lance said...


Hmmm...well Delbert doesn't say the same thing that you assert (without reference) in this 1952 (rehearsed) interview.

Here he estimates the objects (without confidence) at 10,000 feet which doesn't sound close to me but then I am not a UFO enthusiast.

Love the part about never wavering...if only the actual evidence backed up your unsupported ( and now discredited) assertion.


Lance said...

And I should add how much stronger this case would be if the footage wasn't so bad.

It does look an awful lot like birds.

As always the talking up of the case never matches the evidence.


Larry said...

As usual, I would favor an ounce of scientific research over a ton of speculation and hunches.

I just re-read Hartmann's write-up on the Trementon case in the Condon Report. I noticed that he restricted himself entirely to photogrammetry--calculation of the size and motion of the images, as opposed to photometry in which one considers the brightness of images. Photometry allows one to estimate how many photons the image was giving off. I suspect it was some sort of photometry measurements that led the Navy's Photo Interpretation Center (the forerunner of the National Reconnaissance Office, I believe) to conclude that the objects were self-luminous. In theory, this should be an easy determination to make, and if true, would totally eliminate the bird explanation.

Hartmann quotes Al Chop as describing the images as "burnt right down to the celluloid backing". In other words, the images were totally saturated. We know what kind of film, what shutter speed, and which f-stop was used on the camera that day. Hartmann’s photogrammetric analysis placed definite bounds on the minimum distance the birds would have to have been at in order to just be unresolvable. That number is 2000 feet. I am skeptical that a seagull’s white breast feathers exposed to the noon-day Utah Sun would saturate the film used in the camera that day at a distance of 2000 feet, but I could be wrong.

It would seem like a fairly simple and straightforward calculation to make, and I find it somewhat unexplainable that Hartmann did not do it, considering that he went through this exact kind of analysis on the Trent photos.

Moreover, since the film is in color, it should be possible in principle to make an estimate of the color temperature of the images which would, again, give information regarding whether they were reflected sunlight or were self-luminous. I would think that any scientist with a modicum of intellectual curiosity would have thought about these elements of the case, but Hartmann didn’t follow those leads

However, if there is a good quality copy of the film available, I think those analyses could be undertaken, today. Does anyone know if such a copy exists?

KRandle said...

Lance -

I'm always astonished at how you read things into my writing that I have not said. I get that witnesses sometimes change their stories unconsciously... I get that witnesses substitute analysis for observation... but I also note that you seem to reject gtestimonial evidence out of hand if it does not fit your world view and accept, almost unconditionally that which supports it.

For example, you say that Newhouse estimated the objects at 10,000 feet, but what he actually said was that if they were the size of a B-29 he thought they would be at 10,000 feet. Therefore if they were smaller, they were closer and if larger, they were higher.

My point was that debunkers always accept an explanation even when it doesn't fit the facts because any explanation is better than admitting that there is no good explanation...

And just for the record, I never thought they looked like birds and I have spent years watching all sorts of bird formaions when I had the chance.

Lance said...


I was just listening to the guy's actual voice and testimony. He didn't mention the B29 thing, I don't think but even if he did, this underlines in hilarious relief what a worthless statement and how pointless it is to judge the size of something without reference in the sky.

Yes, if it was the size of Earth's moon, it was VERY far away, if it was the size of a mosquito, it was VERY close.

What a worthless statement:UFO science at it's very best.


Lance said...

And even still....please explain how being 2 miles away from something the size of a B29 could be described as a close encounter. This is really the point, ...he never seemed to mention that the object was close.. He definitely doesn't think it was close in the 1952 testimony. Why you choose to obscure this above and lead us to the years later testimony is interesting.


KRandle said...


So you watch a bit from a semi- documentary that was clearly scripted and that solves it all.

The point is still that no good solution for this sighting exists though debunkers believe it to be birds. The point is that the case if made of much more than a few minutes in a movie made for entertainment rather than a sceintific investigation...

The point is that this whole of the sighting does not rest on the testimony of the observer because there is a second chain of evidence but you'd rather concentrate on "testimony" offered in a movie and reject it because of that without bothering with the other records that exist and the fact that some of the Blue Book file has disappeared.

Debunkery at its best.

Lance said...

Hi Kevin,

So bottom line, we should throw out the contemporaneous interview and only accept the decades later interview you did? That is some fine scholarship!

Yes, I only stuck to one aspect of your story: the idea that the objects were close to the observer.

I have presented evidence from 1952 spoken by the observer himself that suggests that he thought the objects were far away.

Is there anything contemporaneous that shows differently?

Your 20 year later interview is interesting but I think, if I was looking for the truth, I might lean on the earlier stuff.

I'm not debunking, I am only asking a few questions that any even slightly intelligent person might ask outside the bubble here amongst the UFO believers.

I haven't made any statement one way or the other about the case but simply pointed out the obvious inconsistency between what you claimed and the real contemporaneous evidence.

Of course doing that is debunking among dyed in the wool believers.


cda said...

The movie Lyall M refers to was entitled "UFO", produced in 1956 by Clarence Greene and Russell Rouse. I believe it had some official USAF help in the form of a few AF officers appearing in it, including Ruppelt. I think a re-enactment of the Washington DC radar-visual sightings, and the press conference of July 29, 1952 was also included, but am not positive on this latter point.

The Tremonton film and the Great Falls, Montana film were both shown in this movie.

As far as I remember, both films show merely blobs of light, no shape and no construction details at all.

KRandle said...

Lance -

Didn't say that... didn't even reference my interview... Set up straw man knock it down...

Your contemporaneous interview was done for a documentary some three or four years later... Did you review the Blue Book file... Did you note the comments by Ruppelt?

You have presented evidence from a movie made four years after the fact and not from 1952.

Lance said...

On the point of the date of the film, you are undoubtedly right. But it was still a lot closer to the original date than your 20 year later interview.

And you don't address the fact that he obviously is saying that the objects were quite far away.

The film is obviously scripted (or rehearsed) but it is also playing up the ooga booga as much as possible...there would be no reason for the detail of the closeness to not be included.

Newhouse said that the objects were directly over him when he first saw them but every indication is that they were still quite distant. If they looked like a B-29 at 10,000 feet then that is viewing something that is 100 ft long at almost 2 miles distance. Pretty small and certainly not "up close" as you assert.

Is there anything that is more contemporaneous in which he claims an "up close" component to the sighting?

And just for the record, I am not aware of any skeptic here who asserts that he is SURE about the prosaic nature of UFO's. I think skeptics all say that that the crappy evidence (like the frankly pathetic Newhouse film) does not lead one to reasonably come to the conclusion that UFO believers dogmatically assert --even considering the 2nd-hand and decades-after-the-fact testimony that you unwisely treat as reliable data.


Lance said...

Is there anyone who knows where the film is?

Newhouse claimed that there were missing frames from the front end of the film (which could be potentially falsified by examination of the actual roll).


Unknown said...

So what? You have your agendas, it doesn't really matter what you think about it. You are not authorities, only opinionated and biased non-observers. You are writing as an attempt to garner mass attention to your opinions.

What happened happened. YOU DON'T KNOW! Only the guy and his family were there. No matter what you think about the observer, he and his family were personal observers. The lights in the film do not negate his observation. They only support that he saw something. You have not. So shut up already. You are muddying the waters with you attitudes and baseless opinions. Just like the government "experts" who also WERE NOT THERE.

Agree with the article? Disagree with the article? What sophistry. Are you bored? Go outside and look around. You might see something that TO YOU is unidentified. Then tell us about THAT. (Maybe you'll see Santa and his reindeer - which by definition is a UFO also for anyone over the age of 12.)

Lance said...

I assume that James Warner's comments are directed at the skeptics. This attitude is sadly the most common one amongst the believers: don't question our crappy evidence!


KRandle said...

Lance -

If you read carefully, you would see that while I mention that I interviewed Newhouse in 1976 (which really has your panties in a bunch) you would also note that I quote, at length, from Ed Ruppelt who conducted his interview with Newhouse about the same time as the interview (with the fake Air Force officer) was conducted for the movie. It was Ruppelt's interview that produced the items you question and not the one I conducted. In fact, if you read the posting carefully, I was making the point that the skeptics would reject what I said because of the passage of time, but here is an account made in the 1950s (and to beat the dead horse, at about the same time as the film you cite as documentation).

So, to answer your question (but not to question your reading comprehension) I suggest you reread the Ruppelt quote (published in 1956, or in the same year that the movie you cite was released).

Or to put a point on it, the assertion that Newhouse saw the objects "were close to the car, much closer than when he took the movie" comes not from me, but from Ruppelt. I had cited the source but you were so busy looking for anything you thought incorrect, you missed the quote and the source.

David Rudiak said...

Lance cluelessly wrote:
Newhouse said that the objects were directly over him when he first saw them but every indication is that they were still quite distant. If they looked like a B-29 at 10,000 feet then that is viewing something that is 100 ft long at almost 2 miles distance. Pretty small and certainly not "up close" as you assert.

A B-29 100 feet long at 10,000 subtends a visual angle of 100/10,000 radians * 57.3 deg/radian = .57 degrees = 34 minutes of arc.

A B-29 wingspan of about 140 feet subtends a visual angle of 1.4*34' = 48 arcmin.

Angular diameter of the full moon or sun about 31 minarc.

Thus Newhouse was saying the disc-like objects when he (and his family) first saw them at closest approach had AT LEAST the ANGULAR SIZE of the moon or sun (or perhaps were 50% larger in ANGULAR SIZE).

This is more than "close" or big enough in ANGULAR SIZE, no matter how you want to quibble over the meaning of "close", to clearly see the shape of the objects, which is the important factor (not absolute distance).

By comparison, how "close" would a large white gull have to be to have the same ANGULAR SIZE as a 100 foot B-29 at 10,000 feet? Let's assume a large white gull 1-1/2 feet long. I'm not sure Lance has the chops to do this easy Algebra 1 problem judging by his remarkably simple-minded arguments so far. So I'll do it for him. 1-1/2 feet is to 100 feet as X is to 10,000 feet. Hmmm, Lance, what's X?

In this example, "close" is a large seagull at 150 feet. Maybe even pseudoscientific skeptics like Lance might intuitively grasp that the average person with normal visual could SUPER-EASILY distinguish a large bird like this at 150 feet from the same size object with a disc shape at the same distance. I think even Lance could do it.

Living near the ocean along San Francisco Bay where white seagulls are dirt common, I've found that I can just make out soaring gulls at about 1000 feet distance, not only their general bird shape but their very obvious occasional wing flapping. (However, nothing remotely resembling wing flapping was noted in any of the detailed analyses of the Newhouse film, just one argument against "birds".)

For further comparison, the 20/20 standard for "normal" visual acuity (although at least half the population has acuity better than this) corresponds to a letter only 5 minarc in size on an eyechart, only about 15% or less in ANGULAR SIZE than the objects Newhouse saw at closest approach).

Again, it doesn't matter how "close" the eye chart is in absolute distance, only what the ANGULAR SIZE and thus visibility (ability to distinguish one shape from another) of the letters on the eye chart are . They could be 9 mm in size at 20 feet (5 minarc) or scaled to the equivalent 4.5 meters (~15 feet) at 10,000 feet distance. Same ANGULAR SIZE; same visibility. (I am ignoring secondary factors like atmospheric haze that would reduce contrast and visibility with distance. It was a very clear day and haze would not have been a significant factor in determining shape when the objects were much closer and much larger in angular size.)

But Newhouse was describing something AT LEAST 6 times bigger in angular size than this, maybe 10 times bigger, equivalent to those GREAT BIG letters on an eye chart. Nobody except the legally blind would ever confuse such large letters in ANGULAR SIZE with one another. (Again, absolute size and absolute distance has NOTHING to do with it.)

Lance said...

Hi Kevin,

Yes, of course I noted your second hand account by Ruppelt.

You do know the difference between second hand and first hand, I hope?

I realize that the more times a story passes between persons, the more accurate it gets in UFO-land but I was asking from the real world if there was any contemporary account by Newhouse himself that indicated this supposed close encounter?

Conspiracy enthusiast, David Rudiak, bravely insults, knowing that if such insults are returned in kind, that Kevin will delete my message.

Notice how he takes the rough estimate that Newhouse gave and squeezes through his conspiracy-addled worldview into some precise (and hilarious) math as though he was working from real data.

To say that nothing resembling wing flapping was observed in the film doesn't come close to telling the whole story. The crappy film is out of focus and barely contains anything discernible image at all.

If there were wings flapping, I doubt anyone could see them from this horrible shaky inept film.


KRandle said...

Lance -

You asked for accounts from the same time frame as your scripted and edited movie, believe it to be wholly accurate without the hand of the director or the film editor in it and reject, out of hand, what Ruppelt reported because it was second hand... as are most accounts from history, on the evening news and what you read in the newspapers. Of course I know the difference...

And thank you for proving my point. You will only accept that which fits your world view, never considering the possibility that your world view might be skewed.

You asked for a source, I provided it, and you rejected it. So be it.

Lance said...


You (along with your cohort, Rudiak) bristle too quickly at anything that doesn't promote the Saucer Jesus.

I didn't reject anything, I simply labeled it for what it was.

If all you are saying is that Newhouse saw something that he estimated about the size of a medium-sized airplane at 2 miles in the sky then I agree that this is what the evidence shows.


Larry said...

Lance wrote:

“…this underlines in hilarious relief what a worthless statement and how pointless it is to judge the size of something without reference in the sky.

Yes, if it was the size of Earth's moon, it was VERY far away, if it was the size of a mosquito, it was VERY close.

What a worthless statement: UFO science at it's very best…”


“…Notice how he [Rudiak] takes the rough estimate that Newhouse gave and squeezes through his conspiracy-addled worldview into some precise (and hilarious) math as though he was working from real data…”

I’m trying to figure out exactly what you’re fulminating against with these statements.

On the one hand, you seem to correctly recognize the primary mathematical principle of photogrammetry—that in the absence of any reference image whose distance from the camera is known, the distance or size of an unknown object whose image also appears in the frame cannot be determined uniquely. It is only the ratio of the unknown object’s size and distance that can be determined.

On the other hand, you seem to be implying that photogrammetry is “bad science” (i.e., “UFO science”) when it is used to support the premise that the objects in the film might have been big objects far away. However, it is exactly this same principle that the credentialed scientist William Hartmann used in supporting the bird hypothesis during his analysis in the Condon report. Do you similarly regard Hartmann as having been a “UFO scientist” with a conspiracy-addled worldview, not using real data? If not, why not?

Lance also wrote:

“…To say that nothing resembling wing flapping was observed in the film doesn't come close to telling the whole story. The crappy film is out of focus and barely contains anything discernible image at all…”

Again, you are contradicted by the credentialed scientist Hartmann, who says in the Condon report (p 422 in my 1968 Bantam Book paperback edition): “…Menzel and Boyd dismiss the objects as birds. Their conclusion, however, is phrased in a way inconsistent with the facts…..This [their phrasing] gives the totally wrong impression that the objects are difficult to identify merely because of poor photography. The objects may be birds though unresolved because of distance but the images are small and RELATIVELY SHARP (my emphasis) and lack of a clear identification cannot be ascribed to poor photography….” Hartmann goes on to point out that he examined the same copy of the film that was shown to the CIA’s Robertson panel, so presumably a high quality copy, or maybe even the original.

It is specifically BECAUSE the images were sharp and he assumed that they were the 8 inch diameter white breasts of seagulls that Hartmann had to place them a minimum of 2000 feet away from the camera (using the photogrammetric principle). If they were any closer, the wings would have been visible (whether flapping or not). According to Hartmann, there were two problems with the bird theory: no wings visible at all, and no periodic motion of the light sources that would have indicated flapping.

Majestic leader said...

A second witness named Jimmie Robinson also saw the objects Newhouse filmed. He has just recently been found again. How many witnesses does it take?
Ps Hi Kevin and David! I have read over 4000 UFO books and I am a believer 100%.
Lance, How many books on UFOs have you read?

Lance said...


The point I was trying to make is that the ESTIMATE made by Newhouse is only an estimate. All of the available data (the film) contradicts his estimate--(the objects being very considerably smaller than full moons)--especially as taken with Newhouse's 75mm lens.

I will admit that the only access I have to the film is that presented on YouTube--I suppose it is possible that the image is much sharper in the original (but I doubt it). "Relatively sharp" doesn't sound like sharp--I don't know the characteristics of the lens but if he was focused on infinity (as he says he was) and the objects were very far away, they should have been pretty sharp---the film (as I see it on YouTube) is ALMOST devoid of useful detail and very shaky.

A few other notes, some of which contradict the myth-making being attempted here:

1. Newhouse in his BB report makes it very clear that the objects were such that he couldn't estimate size, speed, or distance. This CERTAINLY doesn't sound like something very close.

2. He never seems to mention the saucer shape in the BB report, instead saying that the object were all "as long as they were wide and thin"--Whatever that means--sounds like round which is the only other description I see in the BB report.

3. Newhouse (in the odd interview from the movie) says something very puzzling for a photographer to say. He says that he stopped the aperture down to get the sky darker so that the objects would be easier to see. That is all well and good. But then he says that this was a mistake and he should have left the aperture alone. Considering that the white objects are still burned out, I don't understand. If he had left the aperture more open, we would have gotten even less detail.

4. The movie's ridiculous "analysis" is laughable, it pretends that the speed can be estimated, something I think everyone agrees is impossible.

5. One UFO site claimed that Newhouse later said that some of his frames (the good close up ones, naturally!) were missing when he received his film back from the military. This is DIRECTLY disputed by the movie presentation. Newhouse always said that he first shot at f8 but immediately stopped down to f16. The movie version purports to show the change in f-stop (showing the scene before which SHOULD be the close-up good stuff). If the movie is correct and Newhouse really did make the claim that some of his footage is mysteriously missing, then his story should REALLY be taken with a grain of salt.

6. Newhouse estimated that he was shooting at about 70 degrees elevation so the objects hadn't moved THAT far from when they were directly above him.

7. If you think I'm dumb, you should take a look at some the moronic UFO sites (this one obviously excluded) that soberly pretend to discuss this case (with lots of Rudiakian numbers) but confuse f-stop with focal length, etc.


David Rudiak said...


As Paul Hill notes in his book, Newhouse was Chief Naval Photographer, 21 years in the Navy, with 2000 hours flying time. Hill rightfully considered him to be a "professional aerial observer" and a uniquely qualified eyewitness.

That's why when Newhouse reported the size of the disc-shaped objects at closest approach being that of a B-29 at 10,000 feet, it carries considerably more weight than some anti-saucer zealot like Lance Moody flippantly dismissing this as being too distant to be seen clearly or for Newhouse being correctly able to estimate the (angular) size of the object.

As I detailed, Newhouse was indicating the objects when closest were as large or larger than the full moon in ANGULAR SIZE. Doesn't matter if it was the full moon at 220,000 miles, a 100 foot saucer at 2 miles or a poker chip at 10 feet. All have about same ANGULAR SIZE and clearly discernable shape.

Now what do you think, Lance, could you clearly discern the shape of a poker chip at 10 feet, say distinguishing it from an equally sized cutout of a B-29 or a bird at 10 feet? (However, given what Lance has argued so far, he would probably claim Newhouse couldn't distinguish a crescent moon from a full moon because the moon is so very, very far away.)

Why the hell do you think Newhouse went through the trouble of filming the things to begin with unless he observed something incredibly unusual about them, unlike anything he had ever seen in all his many years of observing and filming things in the air? He had to stop the car, go to the trunk, and load the camera first. All for some stupid birds flying overhead, like he had never seen a flock of milling birds before? I don't thinks so.

David Rudiak said...

Lance wrote:
5. One UFO site claimed that Newhouse later said that some of his frames (the good close up ones, naturally!) were missing when he received his film back from the military. ... If the movie is correct and Newhouse really did make the claim that some of his footage is mysteriously missing, then his story should REALLY be taken with a grain of salt.

Just for the record, Newhouse never made such a claim. Sheesh!

Instead it was was Nick Mariana, who took the 1950 Great Falls movie of two glowing objects. Mariana said the first frames of the film clearly showed the disc-shape, but when he got the movie film back from the Air Force, they had removed these frames.

Way to go Lance, using your perfect skeptic memory of what was allegedly said on some nameless "UFO site" in order to try to discredit Newhouse's testimony. Is this yet another example of your Skepto-Scholarship"?

Lance said...


Questioning why witnesses do things is not a particularly fruitful avenue of discovery. With your intimate knowledge of the legion of liars and frauds associated with Roswell, I would hope you might someday realize that.

I perfectly well understand your notes above but Newhouse's 8/11/1952 signed statement doesn't even mention the angular size estimate you are relying so much upon but does reiterate that he couldn't make any estimate of size, speed, altitude or distance. He certainly makes no claim that he thought the objects were close up.

Additionally the saucer shape and composition appear to be a later inventions and are not mentioned in his statement or the 1952 BB reports. None of the new details about the craft that Kevin heard about 20 years later are in these 1952 reports.

I mentioned the possibility of tale-spinning by Newhouse in regards to his claims of missing "good" footage but that probably isn't something at the top of the UFO Investigator's To-Do list, I'm sure. I may look into it more or maybe someone knows something they can share?


A June 1 1956 memo for the Director of Intelligence claims that movies of seagulls were taken that showed bright spots similar to the Newhouse film. Additionally it is mentioned that identifiable seagulls are seen in the Newhouse film.

I can't see much of anything in the Youtube versions of the film--does anyone know anything about this? Has anyone seen these purported similar films of actual seagulls?

Lance said...
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Lance said...
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Lance said...

This might interest anyone interested in, you know, reality.

In a 1970 letter from (UFO Saint) James McDonald, he discusses his interview with Newhouse.

McDonald doubted the huge angular size that Newhouse claimed for the objects:

" The angular elevation of the objects was so high, he volunteered, that he never had any opportunity to get any landscape features or foreground objects in the frame. As I understood it, the objects were first seen a bit east of their zenith, but were moving northward. Newhouse stated that he had his back to the sun (a bit before noon) as he shot during the early portions of his filming. He was uncertain on the angular altitude of the group of objects at the time that he first began to shoot them, but, after some mental and verbal pondering, allowed that they might have been at about 45-degree altitude. (Note that, if the objects had moved purely horizontally from 10-degrees off zenith to a point at about 45-degree zenith angle, there would have been no such diminution as the roughly tenfold difference in angular size estimated by Newhouse from his visual sighting vs. direct measurements on the films by Baker and Hartmann. It is, of course, well known that most people make serious errors in both estimates of angular size and estimates of angular elevation. My own present guess would be that the maximum angular diameter as observed visually was probably well under the 30-minute value one obtains from his "B-17 at 10,000 ft" rough estimate.)"

McDonald must be another of those nitwit debunkers that Rudiak raves about. I note that in 1952, Newhouse said that the elevation he was shooting at was around 70 degrees.

And here we have the goods, showing just how little one can count on the assertions of a certain conspiracy buff. McDonald continues:

"Newhouse said that the Air Force didn't send the originals back to him at any time. He wrote ATIC when a long time had elapsed, and what they did finally send back to him was a color print which he stressed was distinctly inferior to the original. Not only that, but he was positive that they had cut out the first 10 or 20 feet, which were shot when the objects were very much closer and appeared much sharper on the film.

He made some remark about being somewhat bitter about the Air Force handling of the whole business."

And yet Newhouse's own story demolishes this claim--the business of the f-stops. He claimed to only have shot one scene at the more open aperture. And everything else stopped down.

But we apparently have the 1st scene (as shown in the 1956 movie) with the more open aperture and no mention (of course) about this silly business of chaining film, etc.

The whole thing is rather sorted (especially when you add in the Rudiak disinformation).


Anthony Mugan said...

Question for those suitably qualified...

Could a 8 inch diameter bird breast, allowing for ideal angle of orientation etc. reflect sufficient radiation to saturate this type of film at a distance of 2000 feet, allowing for motion of the bird?

I suspect not but as always very happy to be corrected by those better qualified than me to comment.

Lyall M said...

Lance thanks for putting up the link I hadn’t seen that movie since the early 80’s – and the full movie is on Youtube. I’m sure I had seen another interview done in the 50’s with the interviewer dressed in civies. It would be interesting to see if the film could be digitized and stabilized and cleaned up.

Looking at the growing comments I decided to delve a little deeper into this as I always thought the only controversy was “unknowns” or “seagulls” but that wasn’t the case. At the time of the Condon Committee, Hartmann claimed that the statements made by Newhouse should be disregarded as they were affected by his tenure an NICAP advisor and that he couldn’t find them in the Blue Book files. The problem with that was NICAP didn’t exist until late 1956. I have no idea what was in the Blue Book Files on this case.

Lyall M said...

Lance I’ll put the whole letter here you referenced with McDonald as it covers a lot the questions here:
Mr. Arthur C. Lundahl
4401 Chestnut
Bethesda, Maryland, 20014
Dear Art:
Thanks again for taking time for that very interesting and informative sandwich session on UFOs down at the Monument last week. Some of those facets of past history of the UFO problem, on which you were able to fill me in, were most intriguing. I do hope we can find some further opportunities to talk shop on more of these matters.
I had a long telephone discussion with Delbert Clement Newhouse last night. He was the one in El Cajon; the other one, amusingly enough, is his son. His son recently retired from Naval Aviation duty and now flies with United Airlines. We covered a lot of relevant points, and I'll try to hit the highlights here, for your information. There are one or two points that emerge from the discussion on which you might be able to do a bit more checking with Bob Neasham.
Shortly after I identified myself and we got down to brass tacks, Newhouse asked his wife to get on an extension phone, so I had the double benefit of getting comments from both of them as we went over details of that July 2, 1952 incident. It was particularly good to have Mrs. Newhouse on the phone, since she was the one who first spotted the objects and watched them for an estimated minute or so while she was trying to persuade Newhouse to stop the car for a better look. (She pointed out with a laugh that Delbert believed in stopping every 400 miles and only every 400 miles on such cross-country trips.)
Both of them emphasized that it must have taken two or three minutes for Newhouse to hunt through their luggage and locate the camera and film, which were in separate suitcases. In that initial period, the objects were considerably closer to them than at the time he finally began shooting, Newhouse stressed. It was his estimate that the objects lay only about l0-degrees east of their zenith when they first got out of the car. He repeated his angular-size estimate that has been noted elsewhere, namely,about the comparative size of a B-17 at 10,000 ft. (This comes out to about one-half of a degree, roughly 10 times the maximum angular diameter of any of the images as measured by Baker or Hartmann.)

Lyall M said...


As you will recall, one of the key points that I wanted to check with Newhouse concerned the description given by Ruppelt (and repeated in Baker's analysis as reproduced in the 1968 Congressional hearings), namely, that they appeared to be silvery-gray, "gunmetal", and like two pie pans face-to-face. Both Newhouse and his wife fully confirmed that, Newhouse comparing the shape to a discus in his comments to me. Mrs. Newhouse pointed out that they occasionally tipped, so that their round projected area, as seen in the initial portions of the sighting when they were nearly overhead, was replaced occasionally by a side-view exhibiting their discoid shape. There was not the slightest equivocation or any element of uncertainty as either of them discussed that very important point.
I asked Newhouse if it was correct that he had given that description to Ruppelt after the latter had left the Air Force. He confirmed that, saying that the only time he personally talked with Ruppelt was at a filming session for that movie entitled "UFO" produced in about 1954 or 1955. He guessed that meeting must have been in 1954, and Al Chop was also present at that discussion. He brought out the important point that he also stressed the visually observed shape in those early portions of the sighting, when he was interviewed at his duty station in Oakland by an Air Force officer. He further remarked that he saw a copy of the officer's transcript of the interview, and that point appeared in the transcript. I told Newhouse that I may have an opportunity to dig into the Bluebook file on the Tremonton movies at a forthcoming visit to Maxwell AFB, and added that I will attempt to verify the presence of that important point in the Bluebook file.
I should add that Newhouse returned to the above point several times in the course of our 50-minute telephone conversation, since, as he remarked, the matter of the visual observation was extremely important in his estimate. He commented on the point that almost no one who has since discussed his sighting and movies takes note of that point. In particular, he volunteered some extremely negative comments about the analysis in the Condon Report, and, to my queries, replied that no one from the Colorado team ever personally contacted him. When I asked him, in that connection, if he rejected their "gull hypothesis," he replied in the affirmative and said that, if he had a chance, he'd tell Condon the same thing he told Ruppelt: "You'd better go take a better look at some sea gulls!"

Lyall M said...


Both Newhouse and his wife pointed out that the spot on U.S. 30 where they had stopped to look at the objects was in wide-open spaces broken only by a low knoll off to their east. The angular elevation of the objects was so high, he volunteered, that he never had any opportunity to get any landscape features or foreground objects in the frame. As I understood it, the objects were first seen a bit east of their zenith, but were moving northward. Newhouse stated that he had his back to the sun (a bit before noon) as he shot during the early portions of his filming. He was uncertain on the angular altitude of the group of objects at the time that he first began to shoot them, but, after some mental and verbal pondering, allowed that they might have been at about 45-degree altitude. (Note that, if the objects had moved purely horizontally from 10-degrees off zenith to a point at about 45-degree zenith angle, there would have been no such diminution as the roughly tenfold difference in angular size estimated by Newhouse from his visual sighting measurements on the films by Baker and Hartmann. It is, of course, well known that most people make serious errors in both estimates of angular size and estimates of angular elevation. My own present guess would be that the maximum angular diameter as observed visually was probably well under the 30-minute value one obtains from his "B-17 at 10,000 ft" rough estimate.)

Both of them discussed the "milling around" motion of the objects and the occasional tipping to present an edgewise view. Newhouse told me that he tried to hold the camera steady, as much as he could, to let the objects move through the field. He was particularly emphatic on that point with respect to the subsequent episode when one of the objects departed from the group and moved eastward across the sky. It was his recollection that he had held the camera steady, let that object drift through the field, shifted azimuth, etc., through three of those cycles before it got out of range.

That latter episode took place after the group of objects had made a turn to the west after moving northward for some time. It was after they had advanced westward that the one object peeled off, he explained, and, by the time he finished shooting that lone object, the others were too far off in the distance to pick them up again, as he recalled. (I got the impression that the Newhouses have not reviewed that footage for some time because Newhouse was careful to insert provisos to the effect that he was telling me his recollections of the details of the film.)

A rather interesting point, which I have never seen brought out before, was mentioned, almost by happenstance. It turned out that the footage which Newhouse submitted to the Air Force was spliced from about 20 feet that he shot on the end of one 50-foot magazine, plus about 40 feet that he shot on the first part of the next magazine. In other words, he had to change magazines in the middle of that shooting. I failed to ask him if he might have made the change of aperture at the same time as the change of magazine; that's not too important a matter, however.

Lyall M said...

A still more important point that I was unaware of:

Newhouse said that the Air Force didn't send the originals back to him at any time. He wrote ATIC when a long time had elapsed, and what they did finally send back to him was a color print which he stressed was distinctly inferior to the original. Not only that, but he was positive that they had cut out the first 10 or 20 feet, which were shot when the objects were very much closer and appeared much sharper on the film. (Oh! it just hit me that this may account for the seeming discrepancy between the maximum image size on the Baker-analyzed film and Newhouse's rough recollection that he began the shooting when the objects were at a zenith angle of 45-degrees. The missing footage, which he seemed positive was from the earliest and best parts of his original, would have shown the objects at an angular diameter larger than the later portions that have been involved in subsequent analyses. You follow me, I presume.)

Newhouse remarked that it had never occurred to him that he should not have sent the Air Force originals. He made some brief comment to the effect that, if he had it to do over, he would send only a print, but he fully expected to get back his originals. I made some off-hand comment to the effect that others have had similar experience with negatives and films, and he seemed to be faintly aware of that. He made some remark about being somewhat bitter about the Air Force handling of the whole business.

(Incidentally, though it's of secondary importance, I might point out that I learned that the Newhouses were enroute to Portland on that trip, and were heading from Salt Lake City to Boise on the particular leg of the trip during which the sighting occurred. He had leave, which he was taking in Portland, before continuing down the coast to his next duty station at Oakland. It was from Oakland that he submitted his films to Project Bluebook. He confirmed to me that he had about 2,000 air-hours as an aviation photographer by 1952. I might add that it seems that he retired with the rank of lieutenant. I asked him, Art, if he recalled you from Anacostia days, but he remembered your name, and that's all.)

(On going over my telephone notes, I just noted another point on the lost film. It was at the time of the movie-making, in the mid-1950s, that he wrote to the Air Force to ask them to return the originals. A warrant officer at ATIC told him the originals had been lost in a fire. I see further that I jotted down a direct quote on his remarks about having sent off the originals: "Very naively, I sent them the original.")

I asked him about that matter of the color change of the objects, but it drew no response at all. That is, Newhouse has no recollection that the footage showed any coloration at all. By the time that I brought that up, he had already mentioned the missing footage from the earliest and best parts of his film, and I thought this was going to be the reconciliation between absence of any discussion of coloration in Baker's and Hartmann's analyses vs. your recollection of a non-ordered sequence of color changes, red-blue-green, etc. But that did not prove to be the case. Newhouse said. that, as far as he could recall, the films showed nothing but white or silvery-white images throughout the entire footage, including the missing initial portion. This is a point which it would be interesting if you could check with Neasham. Is it possible that you have crossed your wires on that, perhaps? Newhouse did volunteer the speculation that he never had a chance to examine the films under high magnification, which he said might conceivably have shown a bit of color that he missed.

Lyall M said...

I found it interesting to learn that no contacts of any sort have been made with Newhouse since that movie was made. This evidently included Baker, as well as Hartmann and the Condon Project team. I was particularly surprised that Bob Baker had not contacted him, when doing that analysis for Douglas in 1956.

Newhouse had some very negative comments to make about Condon, whose bias he seemed to sense quite clearly. He had read the Condon Report, and made disparaging comments about the analysis of his films, as well as the rest of the report.

I asked a few questions to try to get at the matter of whether he has followed the UFO problem in much detail, and decided that he has not. He did mention that, in the course of subsequent duty in the Navy, people who recognized his name, chiefly from the movie, would often bring up Navy sightings of their own. I thought I might be getting some leads, but he hadn't taken the trouble to jot down any names or particulars. He did say that some of them were fairly interesting sightings, even though most were not too impressive. He had been on a Navy carrier that was inbound to Rio de Janeiro at about the time of the Trinidade Isle photo case of January 1958. He remembered it only vaguely as Brazilian photos, but took pains to ask me if I had ever seen them and whether I knew anything about them. He said he thought that they were fairly impressive, and that the Brazilian papers had taken them seriously at that time. That was the only UFO case on which he volunteered any questions.

He mentioned, somewhere in the latter parts of our conversation, that his son and daughter had gotten fairly good views of the objects, too. The son was then 14, the daughter, 12. He said that, in the minds of all four of them, there was not the slightest suspicion that what they had seen were gulls. This, he emphasized, was because, when first seen, the shapes were very distinct and bore no relation at all to sea gulls. He made further remarks to the effect that he supposes that others who have gotten good looks at UFOs must have about the same feeling he does, namely, that if you really see them yourself, there's just no doubt about their reality at all. He did remark, in connection with those Navy sightings that he ran into subsequently, that he knew of none of them that had been officially reported. He said this was because of fear of ridicule, and made the interesting added point that he wouldn't have reported what they saw on July 2, 1952, if he hadn't had those photos to back them up. When I asked him why, he was quite straightforward about saying that nobody would have believed him and they just would have made fun of it if there hadn't been the photos. I then pointed out that his reaction was paralleled by that of many dozens of witnesses that I have interviewed here and in other countries.

Those represent the salient points of my interview, at least as far as I can spot them in reading over my hastily scribbled three pages of notes. I certainly want to thank you for running down those addresses for me. It was a real privilege to talk to Newhouse, and I intend to needle Bill Hartmann about his failure to personally contact Newhouse before reaching his final opinion about the gulls in those films.

Lyall M said...
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Lyall M said...
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Lyall M said...

The rest of the letter doesn't have anything to do with Newhouse but can found at :

Anyway, I’m glad I gave you a laugh Lance, when I use term unwavering I mean that Newhouse had never changed his story unlike the Fogel guy who said he faked a photo around 1960 and today says it was real. Do you have any evidence of Newhouse ever changing his story? - Is my description of the event that different from Newhouse’s ? I’m not sure what you mean by unsupported assertion or discredited. Or is this just flea picking for sake of argument.

Delbert Newhouse passed away around 2008 or so and strangely enough Canada’s History Channel had been scheduled to interview him but arrived three hours too late on the day that he died.

Lyall - boy did I run into problems cutting and pasting!

Lance said...

Yes Lyall--the story changed like this (perhaps you haven't read this thread or I'm really not being clear):"

1. No clear mention of shape in 1952 (seems to just be called object round)--later changed to saucers.

2. No mention of huge angular size (which even McDonald scoffed at) in 1952.

3. No mention of changing film etc. in 1952. This point is the one I am homing in on because it seems to clearly demonstrate that Newhouse was spinning his tale over time--Newhouse later began to claim the good closeup footage was missing! But his own words sink that story as I have tried to demonstrate. By the way, I think the stuff that Newhouse told Kevin and McDonald is highly dubious but not because he was a liar or fraud but because of human nature.

I apologize if my tone was too harsh with you. As you see above, I'm having to deal with some saucer buffs who simply state falsehoods as fact and then aren't man enough to admit their mistake.


Lance said...

Indeed the disconnect between the claimed angular size and the filmed angular size that McDonald was complaining about (why were the objects so small if they only traveled a relatively short way) is much greater if you take Newhouse's original 70 degree filming elevation---then the objects travelled a much shorter distance but were smaller by a factor of 10.

McDonald apparently didn't know about Newhouse's original report.


Larry said...

Lance wrote:

“…1. No clear mention of shape in 1952 (seems to just be called object round)--later changed to saucers.”

Again, from my Bantam Books 1968 version of the Condon report, pp 419-420, Newhouse was interviewed by “an intelligence officer” on Sept. 10, 1952. The intelligence officer’s report contains the statement: “[In the witness’s opinion]:…Objects appeared approximately as long as they were wide and thin [sic]….”

Hartmann presumably included the Latin adverb sic which carries the connotation ("thus"; in full: sic erat scriptum, "thus was it written"). Sic is added immediately after a quoted word or phrase (or a longer piece of text), to indicate that the quotation has been transcribed exactly as found in the original source, complete with any erroneous spelling or other nonstandard presentation. So Hartmann was telling us that he recognized there was some erroneous spelling or other nonstandard presentation in the sentence that precluded instant comprehension on the part of the reader.

In describing the shape of an object, it is customary to describe the maximum extent of 3 orthogonal dimensions that encompass the object: length, width, and height. So it is logical to presume that the intelligence officer’s sentence was attempting to convey those 3 independent pieces of information. His sentence makes perfect sense if one simply inserts the missing comma, as: “Objects appeared approximately as long as they were wide, and thin.” Then the sentence describes an object whose length and width are one and the same dimension, and whose height (or thickness) is much smaller than that dimension, in other words, the length, width, and height of a discoid.

Lance said...


You could be right. It isn't certain but I think I would tend to agree with you that this makes the most sense.


Lance said...

Some further evidence that by the 1970's, Newhouse was changing his story to make it more exciting.

Here we see on a signed 1952 statement that Newhouse himself is submitting a 50 foot roll of 16mm film.

When Newhouse talked to McDonald decades later, he now making the claim that he actually shot about 60 feet (20 feet on a previously exposed roll) and 40 feet on a new roll that he started during the UFO event). The last 10 feet on that roll were of some mountains he shot later.

So actually Newhouse in the 1970's is claiming he sent at least 70 feet (after all, mountain shots were there on the roll sent to the Air Force).

This doesn't jibe with his signed statement about the 50ft. roll. On the other hand, ALL of the actual documents DO match up with one 50ft roll.

Newhouse tells McDonald that he was missing about 10-20 feet when the film (copy) was returned to him.

Sadly by 1990, he is now claiming that he is missing HALF of the footage he shot.

It doesn't take too much intelligence to see the way the story is evolving. And it isn't evolving towards the truth.


Anthony Mugan said...

Hi Lance, Larry and Lyall

Lyall - thank you very much for including the MacDonald letter. I hadn't come across that one before

Lance and Larry - I share your interpretation of the description in the 1952 report quoted by Hartman. I am glad we seem to have some degree of consensus that Newhouse did describe the objects as appearing disk shaped as early as that.

Lance - you mention MacDonald's scepticism concerning the change in apparent angular size with the reported change in angle of elevation. If the flight was horizontal this would be a valid point. As we do not know if the objects (e.g. birds) were moving horizontally or changing altitude I do not feel that this can be taken as being a problem. The different figures can match very simply if we presume an increase in altitude. We have no way of knowing what the initial and final altitudes of the objects filmed were but the figures quoted are well within the range of possibilities. An observer has little chance of accurately assessing altitude without a reference point. In fact I am a bit surprised at Macdonald not noting that.

Don't think we can read too much into what seem extremely minor variations in recollection of the number of feet of film shot or approximations such as 'half' when used in conversation rather than, for example, in a scientific paper.

Overall - The bird hypothesis comes across as extremely shaky to me. The behaviour of the Robertson panel - simply asserting this solution despite evidence presented by specialists in photo interpretation to contrary could be seen as a classic example of the use of positional power (even Hynek said he felt it difficult to challenge the great men on the panel.

This case is one which would benefit from an up to date complete analysis.

Lance said...


I will agree with most of your post.

Newhouse did not mention the objects seeming to climb but without reference, maybe he couldn't tell.

Your statement about the footage shows a lack of understanding of the situation.

It isn't just a matter of a difference in the number of feet of film.

Newhouse, was trying to make his sighting different than the 1000's of lights in the sky cases.

He invented (at some point after 1956) this story that he had actually shot some really good close up footage before the useless crappy stuff we have all seen.

Along several paths, I have shown definitely that this simply can't be true:

1. The footage and what is shown on it was carefully documented by the Air Force after receipt. It is the same stuff we have seen and ONLY that stuff.

2. Newhouse seals the deal with his contemporaneous description of the technical circumstances of the shooting. He claimed that he shot one shot at f8 and all the rests at f16. Actually there are two bursts at f8 logged on the film (brighter sky) and then 5 additional shots (darker sky) all on the film we now see and carefully logged by the military. Then there were Newhouses's vacation mountain shots. There are no close up UFO shots.

Kevin's post was all about how Newhouse was telling people 20 years later about how he had seen the objects close up. I think there are good indications that he (intentionally or not) was embroidering his tale.

The bullshit about two different rolls of film, etc. -- something not even hinted at in anything from 1952 suggests to me that Newhouse was seeking to increase the importance of what actually was just a distant lights in the sky case and an unfortunately mostly useless piece of film.


Jim Robinson said...


I was a witness to this event, and related the details of my sighting in a blog, The Tremonton Seagulls 6 years ago, & it also appeared in UFO Digest.

I have always felt my sighting was simultaneous with Newhouse's film, since all the details shown were the same as my sighting. Newhouse made the comment in his movie interview that he was disappointed with the film results, & that it was not what he saw. Well, maybe so, but the images were precisely what I saw. The first time I saw the film sequence I was flabbergasted,immediately recognizing most every detail of the movements, relative positions, etc., including a pair of the objects bringing up the rear of the group which were closely orbiting each other rapidly for at least a couple of laps. It's true the objects appeared to be milling about, but only within the group. The group had a very definite course & speed (east-to-west), which never varied as far as I could tell. The group was loosely strung out in its direction of motion, crossing my meridian to the north by some 10 to 20 degrees.

The film does not show any movement, except for the relative motions, because Newhouse was panning to keep up with the group. However, I can look at those frames & tell you from memory which way was west & north.

The lone object, which Newhouse described as simply reversing its direction, started peeling off gradually to the north shortly after crossing my meridian, and continued in a broad, sweeping turn to the right, finally disappearing just above my northeast horizon when it was headed back east. The group went horizon-to-horizon in a very short time, 3-to-5 minutes at most.

The only trouble with all this is the fact I was standing in a wheat field in eastern New Mexico, some 700 miles from Tremonton, Utah, and any objects there would have to be at least 300,000 feet high just to clear my horizon. The objects were high in the sky for both Newhouse and myself, which could only be true if they were at least several hundred miles in altitude (have you ever tried spotting a satellite in the daytime sky with the naked eye?). These objects were very bright & white & showed no path radiance effects whatever. It's hard to believe they could have been very high, and I recall someone made the comment in one of the early investigations that they seemed to be internally lit.

Obviously my sighting could not have been simultaneous with Newhouse,but all the identical details seen call for an amazing coincidence.
I estimated the size of the objects as somewhere in the vicinity of 7min. of arc, and their velocity near the meridian as 5-to-10 degrees/second. I recall thinking they looked round with no projections, but it was hard to be sure since their angular size was so small. Their motion was very smooth & machine-like; they absolutely were not birds of any kind, nor aircraft of any kind, nor balloons of any kind. Beyond that, your guess is as good as mine !!

cda said...

I am baffled by Jim Robinson's testimony above.

Does he really suppose he saw the same objects as Newhouse? If not, then why does he present this as supporting evidence?

There were no satellites up there in July 1952 and nowhere did Newhouse ever think his objects were 100 miles or so above the earth.

There is no "amazing coincidence" since Mr Robinson gives no date or time and there is absolutely nothing to indicate the objects he saw were the same as in the Newhouse film. Pure conjecture.

As supporting evidence goes, it is useless. His opening statement is "I was a witness to this event".
Oh no you weren't. I you still think you were, prove it.

Larry said...

Danger! The Jedi Master, Old Ceedee Yay has just detected a massive disturbance in the Force. A death-star from the Dark Side is rapidly approaching his home world--the perpetually fog-bound planet, Skepticus.

KRandle said...

Lance -

Had you read the post carefully, you would have noted that I said that the skeptics would climb all over my interview with Newhouse some 24 years later... but, at least I talked to him with is more than William Hartmann can say.

Second, you should have noticed that I quoted Ed Ruppelt who talked to Newhouse some two years after the event, so your criticism is misplaced...

And third, I realize that sometimes witnesses unconsciously embellish their accounts and that these changes can take place in a matter of weeks, I will also note that sometimes the memories are accurate.

Finally, your language is unnecessarily coarse... and will point out that the information you cite, McDonald's letter is second hand at best.

Lance said...


I'll reply to your comment under your new post.


Don Maor said...

CDA said:

"Does he really suppose he saw the same objects as Newhouse? If not, then why does he present this as supporting evidence?"

mmh...let's see...
because the Newhouse video was very similar to what Robinson saw?

I think it does not really matter if the Robinson's sighting was at the same instant or not. What matters is that he saw the same objects, and he did not think they were birds.

Lance said...

Vague collections of white dots---hey wait a minute. I saw those, too!


KRandle said...

All -

Really... he saw the objects in New Mexico about the same time, maybe.

I was well aware of this sighting before I posted and I left it out on purpose because it does nothing to support Newhouse. If he was in Utah and could document the sighting in some fashion, that is one thing. But really, a half century later with no documentation...

Don Maor said...

What documentation is required for being a first hand witness of a sighting?

Jim Robinson said...

Apparently I failed to make it clear that,despite having the feeling I had seen the objects simultaneously with Newhouse's filming (because I was able to reconcile most everything in the film with what I had seen, as well as agreeing with his description of the reversal of one of the objects) I knew it couldn't have been simultaneous because of the large distance involved, which required unbelievably high altitudes.

Of course, I could never prove any of my account (Hi, cda) because I was alone in a wheat field without camera or binoculars at the time. As to the date & time, I can only say for sure it was no longer than 2 weeks before the famous Washington flap of 1952, & it was definitely between 10am & noon.

I can't fault anyone for not believing my story; I probably wouldn't either. Nevertheless, every word is true, including the last sentence of my previous comment.

KRandle said...

Don -

Oh, I don't know... a photograph? A diary entry written at the time... a letter to a friend... a newspaper account.

Here, we have a fellow suggesting that he saw the same objects, maybe on the same time, maybe later, sometime between 10 and noon... and 700 miles away. Given that he is appending his sighting to Newhouse, I would expect something more than the vague notion of date and time.

David Rudiak said...

Here's a N.M. reporter's sighting of multiple glowing objects engaged in formation flying in the same time frame as Jim Robinson's sighting. Obviously this isn't exactly the same (different time of day and about 3 weeks later), but does point out what Jim is reporting was not unique.

The Albuquerque Tribune
Wednesday, July 30, 1952, p. 1

Flight of Luminous Objects Maneuvers Over City

A flight of luminous objects—at least 10—passed over Albuquerque at 9:30 last night.

Whatever they were, they made a “flying saucer” believer out of me. They resembled nothing I had seen before.

Their flight, if it was flight as we know it, was soundless and graceful. At first they appeared overhead from the south. They were clustered together in no apparent pattern, heading due north.

Then they shifted to a perfect V. The shift was done with great precision. The formation resembled a flight of geese.

Within a second or so they formed a new pattern.

This formation presented two rows with the objects in front spaced at exact intervals. Take your pencil and place five dots on a piece of paper. Then at a distance as far behind the dots as the dots are apart, start a new row. Place the second row of five dots so they center between the openings of the first row and you’ll see how the formation appeared.

Incredible Performance

If the objects were about 2500 feet over the city, as they appeared, they moved only about as fast as an F-86 Sabre jet. Going on this assumption, their shifts in position were incredibly swift, fantastically violent—in terms of our experience.

But if their nearness to the ground was an illusion—and the Air Force has said it believes such phenomena may be tricks of the atmosphere—there performance takes on even more incredible aspects.

Their size appeared about one third the size of the moon when it is overhead. But the light they emitted was very different. It was not as intense as a star, nor as bright as the moon. There was no color except white.

It was soft, almost suggesting reflection from the lights of the city. The objects appeared low—yet at a great distance, if such contradiction is credible.

If they were at a great height, and this observer would like to believe they were, their speed must be beyond comprehension.

Witnessed Fireballs

I was a witness on several occasions when fireballs, both green and blue white, flashed through the skies at various points in the southwest. On one occasion I reported in detail what I saw to Dr. Lincoln LaPaz, director of the University’s Institute of Meteoritics and a nationally-known authority on such things.

Dr. LaPaz told me today that the objects I saw last night “definitely are not associated with the Perseid meteor shower.” He said the meteors are coming from the northeast, that they do not change formation nor exa=hibit “intelligence or coordination.”

Col. William Matheny, commander of the 345h Air Defense here, reported he knew nothing of any military flights at the hour of the “saucer maneuvers” and requested me to relate what I saw to his air defense intelligence officers.

The flight of aircraft also is familiar to me. The “lights” indulged in maneuvers impossible to modern aircraft.

I have witnessed flight of rockets, German and American, at White Sands Proving Ground in daylight and at night. The saucers were something different altogether...”

alanborky said...

Lance if as you say y'can't trust what people claim t'see because they're constantly confusin' things all day long an' the researchers who study this sort o' stuff read nonsensical things in t'what're at best images of blobs etc then why bother?

Clearly us seers'n'investigators of blobs're determined t'ignore your advice so why waste so much time try'n'o communicate with those who clearly won't be communicated with?

For that matter why're y'remotely arsed if it's all just complete tosh?

Wouldn't y'spend y'time more productively if y'lobbied Congress t'have us all locked up or lobotomised?

At the moment though y'resemble a born again Christian or a fundamentalist Muslim standin' outside a gay night club try'n'o save the souls of people pushin' their way past you.

Lance said...

Alan: good one! There is some truth to what you say.

I will consider the lobotomy idea!

But not all researchers are quite as unreachable. I knew that Kevin would see the truth.

If it doesn't bother you when the hardcore fantasists like Rudiak simply state lies as facts then maybe the lobotomy thing isn't such ignoble idea.


Unknown said...

Why does every thread, everywhere, devolve into a master class on the 25 Rules of Disinformation... But only when it relates to one of the genuinely unexplained and high quality records of a UFO?

Cooper said...

I have lived in Tremonton for 16 years. I have often seen high flying pelicans flying exactly like what is on the film during the summer months. They fly very high and in changing formations. Often they mill around in one place and then fly off. When they dive it can be fast. They are large birds with a wing span of 8 to 10 feet.